chapter  50
3 Pages


When Pakistan became independent in 1947, the Afghan rulers agitated for its Pathanpeopled North-West Frontier province to be made a separate state, ‘Pushtunistan’. This embittered relations with Pakistan; the Afghans’ trade with and through it was disrupted; Soviet influence in Afghanistan was thus increased. The Russians built roads and airfields (which were soon to serve their military needs) and exploited the gasfield near Shibarghan, piping the gas into Soviet territory. Two military coups put a fairly pliant pro-Soviet regime in power; but Afghan restiveness grew, and the Soviet officers attached to the Afghan army told Moscow that they could not rely on it.